24. May 2014 19:57
24.05.14 05 Friday Mouissac to Valence.
It is a clear night the blackbirds stop talking at dark and very occasional trains pass about 1km away, so a good night is had by all. The tents sre slightly moist with the dew from the Tarn that is about 10m away.We have coffee and get our breakfast in a patisserie that claims to be famous for the towns macaroons, a bench just outside town provides space for us to eat it. Tim is looking forward to an Average day (as defined by Tony when Ray rather plaintively asked having dealt with his blisters, 20km) and flat along the canal. The others have a different agenda, a variante takes us up the nearest steep hill before rolling up and down over some lovely countyside. We are descending for the final time back to the canal now by the Garonne, it having joined the Tarn about 4km below Moissac when we are over flown by a flight of French army helicopters on their way to a mock (we hope) battle we can hear in the distance. As if to reject military intervention it starts to rain but not for long.
We come back down to the canal at Malause and get coffee but find the route back to the towpath on the opposite bank is blocked, a bridge is in the throes of replacement. An extra kilometer and the Average day is looking a bit stressed and it seems Tony a bit like certain UK Education ministers would like to see no days below average! But after a few more km and lunch at a lock gate that operates to allow a boat past with no human intervention. The team decides the locks are operated by a man in Dusseldof over the internet, Ray finds this unacceptable for many reasons and would like to reconvene the age of the horse. Or the donkey!
It starts to rain again as we arrive at the municipal campsite outside Valance, which is of course on the opposite bank of the canal. Rapid erection of tents occurs and a wait for better weather while showering and the doing of minimal washing takes place. Now time to think about food Again.
22.5km 500m ascent 510m descent